Being on a close-knit team can be like having a second family and the city in which you play for, a second home. For Kaylyn Kyle, the experienced midfielder of Orlando Pride, family is everything. Originally from the city of Saskatoon, in the province Saskatchewan, Canada, Kyle grew up immersed in sports. Her father and mother both athletes, along with her sister, another talented soccer star.
“It was pretty cool having a father that has been through everything that I’ve been through, so it was nice coming home from training, and you know, you have a bad training or a bad game he would tell you the truth. It wasn’t sugarcoated but it was to a point where it was an athlete talking to an athlete. Just getting us ready, prepping us for the future of a professional athlete and what it took.”
It’s obvious how much family means to Kyle. She only expresses joy and gratitude when thinking back about growing up in snowy Saskatoon. “I owe them a lot. There’s not enough thank you’s in the world to say to them,” she says about her family.
Being the only Olympic soccer player from Saskatoon, Kyle says her biggest achievement would be to inspire young girls. “If I can inspire people, if I can inspire a young girl to have self confidence, whether that be in school or sports. Just giving her the confidence to have a goal, I think that’s why I was put in this position where I am. I think for me, my role and my job is to inspire young girls and boys.”
As a multi-sport athlete, Kyle credits her sister Courtnee as her influence to pursue the beautiful game and the reason she decided to keep playing at a young age. “My sister played college soccer. She was the one that made me choose soccer. I was in competitive diving and gymnastics and soccer at the time and I had to pick one because all three, I was just too busy and I picked soccer because my sister played.”
Even with so many tournaments and games under her belt, Kyle says she can still remember the exact moment she knew she wanted to play professionally. “I got my first contract offer in Sweden. I was young, fresh out of high school and I was like, ‘you know what, I’m just gonna do it’. My Canadian teammates were going so at least I’d be with them and it was the best decision of my life.”
Since her first international cap with the Canadian Women’s National Team in 2008, Kyle has gone on to play in over 100 games for her home country, scoring six goals. She also helped Canada in reaching the quarterfinals in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Kyle won her 100th cap with the Canadian National Team at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup against Switzerland.
Kyle is a veteran player with years of experience playing in the National Women’s Soccer League, including over 70 appearances for teams such as Vancouver Whitecaps Women, Seattle Reign FC, Boston Breakers and Houston Dash. She’s also an Olympic medal winner, winning Bronze at the 2012 Olympic games in London and a 2011 Pan American Gold medal winner. With that kind of experience, Kyle hopes to bring a sense of leadership and camaraderie to the Pride.
“At the end of the day it takes a team to win games... I think in order to make things click it’s got to work, not only with the starting 11, but players coming in and off the bench. I think you need a good team culture and a winning mindset in order to have a very successful team. With the players that Tom has brought in, that’s exactly what we have.”
Kyle comes to the Orlando Pride as part of a trade with the Portland Thorns FC, her experience at the club level, as well as international level, will give the Pride the solid foundation it needs to build upon. Described as a “tough tackling midfielder with extensive league experience,” by Orlando City Head Coach Tom Sermanni, Kyle will no doubt be a leader within the ranks; her love for playing the game lying deep within her love of family.